Beta-blockers, left and right ventricular function, and in-vivo calcium influx in muscular dystrophy cardiomyopathy

PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57260. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057260. Epub 2013 Feb 20.


Beta-blockers are used to treat acquired heart failure in adults, though their role in early muscular dystrophy cardiomyopathy is unclear. We treated 2 different dystrophic mouse models which have an associated cardiomyopathy (mdx: model for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Sgcd-/-: model for limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2F) and wild type controls (C57 Bl10) with the beta blocker metoprolol or placebo for 8 weeks at an early stage in the development of the cardiomyopathy. Left and right ventricular function was assessed with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and in-vivo myocardial calcium influx with manganese enhanced MRI. In the mdx mice at baseline there was reduced stroke volume, cardiac index, and end-diastolic volume with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction. These abnormalities were no longer evident after treatment with beta-blockers. Right ventricular ejection fraction was reduced and right ventricular end-systolic volume increased in the mdx mice. With metoprolol there was an increase in right ventricular end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes. Left and right ventricular function was normal in the Sgcd-/- mice. Metroprolol had no significant effects on left and right ventricular function in these mice, though heart/body weight ratios increased after treatment. In-vivo myocardial calcium influx with MEMRI was significantly elevated in both models, though metoprolol had no significant effects on either. In conclusion, metoprolol treatment at an early stage in the development of cardiomyopathy has deleterious effects on right ventricular function in mdx mice and in both models no effect on increased in-vivo calcium influx. This suggests that clinical trials need to carefully monitor not just left ventricular function but also right ventricular function and other aspects of myocardial metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Calcium / agonists
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cardiomyopathies / drug therapy*
  • Cardiomyopathies / metabolism
  • Cardiomyopathies / pathology
  • Ion Transport / drug effects
  • Male
  • Metoprolol / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscular Dystrophies / drug therapy*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophies / pathology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Sarcoglycans / deficiency
  • Sarcoglycans / genetics
  • Stroke Volume / drug effects
  • Ventricular Function, Left / drug effects*
  • Ventricular Function, Right / drug effects*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Sarcoglycans
  • Metoprolol
  • Calcium